Thursday, April 22, 2010

Controlling the Beast

This past weekend was the first time I can remember that Punk didn't quick his nails down to bloody nubs duriing a tournament.

Punk usually drags me into the building like we're in some sort of Canine Weight Pulling competition. I never cut his nails at home, and once I'm at a tournament I always find the quickest softest way (via grass, matting, etc.) to get him into the lanes, but it doesn't matter -- by late Saturday afternoon he is usually bleeding all over the place. He doesn't doesn't affect his performance at all, but it makes me feel bad for him, plus he bleeds all over my shoes, pants, and the mats.

I've tried all sorts of things to prevent it from happening:
  • carrying him (haha...he's 38 lbs of wildly squirming borderstaffy)
  • wrapping his feet (haha...he burns through those wraps in no time)
  • boots (haha...those flew off one at a time every few yards we walked)
  • no-pull harness (haha...he backed out of it)
  • leash looped under his stomach ( made him leak poop)

I had actually priced out those crate dollies that people use for Conformation shows -- you know the ones, where you put the crate on wheels and pull them into the building? I was going to just wheel Punk right into the run-back area before every race. They're about $100, which is the only reason I didn't have one yet this past weekend.

My teammate Kristie convinced me to try the no-pull harness again (hers was an Easy Walk by Gentle Leader), she said maybe it was that I had the size wrong and/or hadn't tightened it up enough last time. She had a M-L size and let me borrow it.

Well, he almost backed out of it again, even though it was so tight that I worried I would pinch his skin in it when I clipped it shut on him. On a whim, I decided to try putting one leash on the no-pull harness and another one on his collar, and lo and behold -- IT WORKED.

I held the leashes like reins on a horse and toggled back and forth on them. After a few attempts to drag us in, which resulted in him turning himself backwards toward the car, he gave up and heeled along beside me making frustrated staffy-monkey grunts. I told my teammate Todd that it was like shaking up a can of Coke and putting it on a leash...

People made fun of us as we walked around, but I didn't care -- it worked!!!!!!

Later when I got home I realized I could probably just clip one leash to both the collar and the harness at the same time. I'll try that at the next tournament.

Does anybody else have any tricks like this to share?


Kate said...

That is awesome! But then how long did it take you to "undress" him in the lane? It takes me a week to get just the collar off of Vito because he is ready to run. He pulls me dramatically into the lane and so does Emma. Looping the leash under Emma's belly works well, but not with Vito. It just makes him flip around and try to get out of it. I did it with another team dog I was running and it rubbed a raw spot on her belly.
Honestly, the only way I have found to get Vito into the lane is by tugging with him the whole way.

Lisa Pignetti Murnan said...

It wasn't too bad "undressing" him...I did have one race where I un-clipped both leashes but forgot to take the no-pull harness itself off, but I caught my mistake in time. :) The harness is pretty easy to get off, one clip and voila.

It's actually easy to put on, too -- the people who designed it were geniuses and colored the bottom strap differently than the top straps of the harness, so you're not sitting there cursing and trying to untangle anything in a mad rush to get into the lanes.

Kristie Pope said...

If you undo the top clip on the easy walk the entire harness will fall to the ground immediately and out of the way. If you undo the bottom it slips right over the head. Either way, they are definitely easy to get off in the lane.

Unknown said...

This is how I teach loose leash walking in my Leash Control Clinics. I can't remember where I first heard of the method, with another brand of no pull harness, a number of years ago, but it sure does work!! I love the Premier harnesses.

Anonymous said...

I've use the same technique with my dog! Recently switched to just one leash clipped to both the collar and easy walk harness and it works great.

Unknown said...

Get a crate dolly (used to move furniture) of appropriate size (there are handle extensions designed as addons to the crate dolly). Put a crate on top, loop a ratchet strap around front/back, and around left-right side.
You'll spend about $30 total. Works just as well as the $100 cart, although it doesn't solve the lease issues. :P

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